Home > The very historic Duche letter to General Washington... Battle of the Kegs...
Show image list »
The very historic Duche letter to General Washington... Battle of the Kegs...
Item # 680789
February 19, 1778
INDEPENDENT CHRONICLE, Boston, Feb. 19, 1778
* Jacob Duché - 1st chaplain to the Continental Congress
* Famous letter to General George Washington
* American Revolutionary War
A nice feature of the masthead is a great engraving taken after one done earlier by Paul Revere, showing a patriot soldier with a sword in one hand and a scroll reading "Independence" in the other.
The entire front page is a very interesting discussion concerning the Articles of Confederation, headed: "Letter V From a Gentleman in the Country to His Friend in This Town [Boston]" and which begins: "I am greatly obliged to you for the Articles of Confederate with the Resolves of Congress...which you were so good as to send me: They are interesting and important..." and much more. This letter concludes on pg. 2.
Perhaps the most notable content is what takes up most of page 2, being the historic letter from Jacob Duche, the first official chaplain to Congress, to George Washington who was encamped at Valley Forge at the time. The letter is signed by him in type "Jacob Duche, to His Excellency Gen. Washington."
As a bit of background:
"Duché first came to the attention of the First Continental Congress in September, 1774, when he was summoned to Carpenters' Hall to lead the opening prayers. When the United States Declaration of Independence was ratified, Duché, meeting with the church's vestry, passed a resolution stating that the King George III's name was no longer to be read in the prayers of the church. Duché complied, crossing out said prayers from his Book of Common Prayer, committing an act of treason against England, an extraordinary and dangerous act for a clergyman who had taken an oath of loyalty to the King. On July 9, Congress elected him its first official chaplain. When the British occupied Philadelphia in September 1777, Duché was arrested and detained, underlining the seriousness of his actions. He was later released, at which time he wrote a famous letter to General George Washington and begged him to lay down his arms and negotiate for peace with the British. In a very short time Duché went from hero of the Revolutionary cause to being an outcast in the new United States. In consequence, Duché fled to England and soon made a reputation as an eloquent preacher. He was not able to return to America until 1792, after he had suffered a stroke." (credit Wikipedia)
There are additional reports in this issue which relate to the Revolutionary War but they pale in comparison to the historic Duche letter to Washington.
The back page has over a full column taken up with a report from Congress concerning Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga on October 17, 1777.
Also of interest is a rare report of the interesting "Battle of the Kegs" in the Delaware River at Philadelphia. It has much detail on the plan of floating loaded kegs down the river in hopes they would explode upon contact with British ships. It was essentially a failed--yet curious--episode in Revolutionary War history as they only casualties were two young, curious boys (noted in the report).
This is the first of this incident we have found in a period newspaper.
Four pages, never bound nor trimmed, various dirtiness more so to pages 1 and 4, a small rubbing hold at the fold juncture near the top of the front leaf.